2022 Award Recipients
Emergency Management Exemplary Service Award
All information below is adapted from nomination material submitted for the Emergency Management Exemplary Service Award.
New Brunswick River Watch coordinators
(Samantha Grant, Brennen de Carufel)
Ms. Grant, Operations Officer with the New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization (NB EMO), and Mr. de Carufel, Training Coordinator for NB EMO, volunteered to absorb the River Watch coordinating responsibilities. Recently joining EM, the duo committed to preparing themselves with diligent research in this field, all while completing their previously assigned tasks. They began by working collaboratively with departments and agencies, then modernized the Provincial River Watch Risk Assessment, organized the annual New Brunswick River Watch conference and presented their findings, and developed a training package for Duty Officers. Their commitment to succeed in their new roles was displayed with their long work days, efficiently answering calls, and providing guidance and feedback to different levels of government and the public. Ms. Grant and Mr. de Carufel have excelled in their first challenging EM role and have undoubtedly performed in an outstanding manner.
Ms. Hennebury is the Manager of Emergency Preparedness at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. Over the past 4 years, Ms. Hennebury has greatly contributed to improving emergency preparedness within the organization. Her notable achievements include playing a pivotal role in developing Sunnybrook’s first-ever Corporate Emergency Operations Plan, leading the implementation of the Hospital Incident Command System (HICS) for the organization and co-leading design of Canada’s largest health-sector focused mass casualty preparedness exercise. Ms. Hennebury’s dedication and passion have had a transformative impact on the EM program at Sunnybrook and have served to advance coordinated EM planning across the Toronto Region, where she co-chairs a regional committee of health sector organizations dedicated to this purpose. Her ability to grasp the complexity of the Ontario healthcare system in a short period of time is admired by her peers, who have been in the field for many years. Over the past several years, Ms. Hennebury has contributed her expertise to many initiatives, committees, and task forces, and has played key planning support roles in both Sunnybrook’s and Toronto’s emergency response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Municipalité des Îles-de-la-Madeleine
In November 2018, les Îles-de-la-Madeleine had suffered through a natural disaster caused by heavy winds, and significant snowfall that turned into freezing rain, which managed to leave 80% of the population without power. Additionally, strong waves put a halt to maritime transportation, and severely damaged telecommunications between the island and the rest of Québec. With no possibility of contacting emergency responders outside of the region, all of the municipal government services banded together to tend to the island’s citizens. Local firefighters were dispatched to support the vulnerable population, during the storm. Once radio communication was established, emergency responders quickly strategize to ensure public safety, and to request additional support. Within the next few hours, the Municipal Director General declared a state of emergency, a shelter at the City Hall’s community centre welcomed the public, and the emergency operations centre opened. The resourcefulness and strategic thinking of the Municipal Government led to an overnight turnaround to address the aggressive storm and its damages.
InterAide is an initiative of the Association des directeurs généraux des municipalités du Québec (ADGMQ) that aims to strengthen the solidarity of Quebec municipalities, MRCs, intermunicipal boards and First Nations communities in emergency preparedness, by sharing human, material and documentary resources, as well as expertise. Thanks to the work of a small team and a relatively modest budget, this free collaboration platform covering the four dimensions of emergency management was launched in spring 2019. InterAide is essentially a secure application accessible 24/7. As a result, organizations have signed up can post their available emergency preparedness resources on the site, as well as conduct a search according to their needs. A model agreement for the establishment of an intermunicipal mutual aid plan is also available, so that organizations can plan such a strategy as part of their emergency response plan. Born at the suggestion of ADGMQ members who lived through the 2017 floods in particular, InterAide builds on the camaraderie and solidarity between participating organizations, which is particularly reassuring in a crisis. In addition, this platform strongly advertises the need to strengthen and continually improve your emergency preparedness plan. Together with the Quebec government and many other supporting partners, InterAide plays a crucial role in the field of emergency management and preparedness.
City of Sherbrooke
As part of the Public Safety Week in 2018, the City of Sherbrooke’s Fire Protection Services and the Communications Services organized a grand-scaled awareness campaign. They had 4 main objectives to convey: inform the population about public safety and the actions taken by the City of Sherbrooke, make the population aware of disasters and inform them of their responsibilities, encourage the public to take preventive actions that may be useful during an emergency, and strengthen the public’s ability to cope with disasters when they occur. The dedicated teams worked tirelessly to have a strong social media presence with a variety of public safety content, developed a video to be shared on social media, local theaters and the City’s website, held a press conference to launch the week, and invested in paid promotions.
Mr. Hunking joined the Village of Teslin (VOT) in 2012 as a foreman to manage Teslin’s municipal operations and services. One initiative he took on was to create VOT’s long-term flood mitigation and emergency response measures, which served to protect the community against the 2022 floods. Seeing the highest water levels since 1962 due to climate change and heavy snowfall, Mr. Hunking leadership and expertise put in place temporary and permanent flood protection measures, with the collaboration of stakeholders, property owners from within and outside of Teslin. He played an integral role in managing a project and workforce of this magnitude and helped the community through the highest lake levels it has seen in almost 60 years.
City of Mississauga
(Andra Maxwell, Andrew Whittemore, Ben Gallagher, Deryn Rizzi, Ezio Savini, Geoff Wright, Helen Chin-Donofrio, Jodi Robillos, Paul Mitcham, Robert Trewartha, Robyn Heibert, Shari Lichterman, Tim Lindsay)
The City of Mississauga’s Emergency Management Program (EMP) have been prioritizing improving infrastructure, particularly maintaining, improving, and constructing new stormwater infrastructure, with funding support provided by Canada’s Disaster Mitigation and Adaption Fund. Additionally, they’ve played an important role in educating the public regarding emergency preparedness with various campaigns, such as Fire Prevention Week and Emergency Preparedness Week. Their resiliency is demonstrated with their supportive response to various emergencies that occur in their city, and quickly adapting to unforeseen circumstances, as shown by developing the City of Mississauga’s COVID-19 Framework, within 2 months of the pandemic declaration. The City of Mississauga’s EMP, composed of the City’s senior staff, have been recognized for their commitments to public safety with many well-earned awards.
Tsuut’ina First Nation
(Minor Chief Kelsey Big Plume, Jerry Simon, Leslie M Wells-Starlight, Jordan Sage Big Plume, Councilor Emmet Crowchild, Councilor Paula Big Plume, Jonathan Pace, Jodi Two Guns)
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Tsuut’ina Nation Leadership, Chief and Council, departments, and citizens demonstrated organizational excellence to effectively overcome the challenges that arose. In a timely manner, Nation leaders and members formed an Emergency team, with the main objectives of protecting and supporting their community. They established a trusting relationship with the community by consistently circulating essential COVID-19 information, undertook the testing, and vaccination, and supported those who had ongoing health issues, while isolation measures were in place. Additionally, the COVID-19 sick leave that was implemented early in the pandemic significantly reduced the spread in public areas and the workplace, and avoided wage loss. The whole community banded together to support one another, while cultural and traditional needs were always respected. Their instrumental efforts in proactively preparing for the oncoming pandemic helped minimize the severe effects of COVID-19.
Amanda J. Dalton
Amanda Dalton has served in the public service for over 32 years, and 13 of those as the Director, Logistics Support with the Alberta Emergency Management Agency (AEMA). She has made a significant contribution to emergency management through her leadership of the Personal Protective Equipment Task Force (PPE) Task Force, which was established by the Government of Alberta, as part of the COVID-19 response. The Task Force sourced, procured and distributed Personal Protective Equipment to non-health supported vulnerable populations, and the Government of Alberta’s agencies and essential services. Under Amanda’s leadership, the team rapidly educated themselves on the PPE environment, and established a collaborative working relationship with key stakeholders. The PPE Task Force also supported municipal first responders, teachers, staff and students for a safe return to school. In total, over 110 million pieces of PPE were provided to more than 6,000 unique organizations.
Ms. Wood has been the Regional EM Program Manager for 5 municipalities, which form the Grande Prairie Regional Emergency Partnership (GPREP), since 2008. Being the sole employee responsible for nearly 100,000 citizens, she has created, managed and guided emergency preparedness, and has responded to every emergency that has occurred. Her leadership and collaborative spirit guided the involved municipal partners to establish agreements, solutions, and guidelines to provide effective emergency management, that met the needs of every municipality. Ms. Wood continuously focused on improving the GPREP by training emergency staff members, and deploying them across the 5 municipalities, in order to increase coverage and response. In 2020 and 2022, two emergency coordinators joined Jennifer, as the workload significantly increased and to address the need for emergency social services expertise. Her accumulated knowledge from her nursing career nurtured her passion for emergency management, and led to her successful and influential contribution to protect the County of Grande Prairie’s population.
Coach House Enterprises Inc. and David Diabo (Assembly of First Nations)
(David A. Diabo, Dr. Brenda Murphy, Dr. Annette Chretien, Kevin Smart, Dr. Laura J. Brown, Bryce Gunson)
Indigenous Services Canada and the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) co-led a Steering Committee and a Technical Working Group on First Nations Home Flood Insurance Needs with the objective to engage with First Nations communities and register their needs during flooding events. The invaluable data collected was provided to Coach House Enterprise (CHI), a hired research consultancy co-owned by Dr. Brenda Murphy and Dr. Annette Chretien, to develop reports on behalf of the Steering Committee. Having acquired extensive emergency management knowledge throughout his career, Mr. David Diabo led the Steering Committee and oversaw the work conducted by CHI. As CHI further organized engagement sessions with First Nations communities across Canada, they were supported by Mr. Kevin Smart, an insurance consultant providing his industry knowledge, and Dr. Laura Brown and Mr. Bryce Gunson who provided data analysis and report drafting expertise to the project. With the collective and collaborative efforts of the team, the report was presented to the Steering Committee to outline the identified needs to flood insurance and flood risk reduction, which enabled the Government of Canada’s forward planning to protect First Nations residential properties from future floods.
Economic Developers Alberta
Economic Developers Alberta (EDA) is Alberta’s leading professional non-profit organization for economic developers, governed by a volunteer board of directors. Since 2013, EDA has successfully built capacity, created awareness, and encouraged community-based emergency responses following the economic disruptions caused by disasters.
Emergency preparedness and resiliency is a strategic priority for the organization resulting in the development of a training program to help elected officials, economic developers and community leaders to prepare for and recover from disasters, and to lessen damages to local economies. EDA’s accomplishments include the successful collaboration with 10 Southern Alberta flood-impacted communities; and the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (RMWB) following the Horse River Wildfire which reinforced response and recovery efforts following these natural disasters.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, EDA took the lead in providing resources and tools to accelerate business and economic recovery, and connected their stakeholders with community leaders from Alberta, Canada and around the world. EDA has committed to providing resources, professional development, and networking opportunities to economic development practitioners in their critical roles to create thriving communities, especially during emergencies.
For 18 years, Ms. McLachlan has had a security career focused on emergency management, business continuity, supply chain, digital technology, and women empowerment. As a security professional, an entrepreneur, and a philanthropist, she created the “delivereh.” app, which is a free tool to support community resilience and business continuity. The app was introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic, and its success is attributed to her leadership, strong communication, and collaboration with security professionals to build the code and the recovery response for Canadian communities in the last mile logistics. Her exceptional contribution to emergency management has been recognized with many awards, such as the 2010 President’s Award for G20 Emergency Management Contributions, 2012 National Customer Service of the Year Award, 2019 Small Business of the Year Award, and the 2020 Inaugural Women Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
As Nova Scotia’s Provincial Heat Alert and Response Systems (HARS) Coordinator, Ms. Nickelo’s work in developing HARS contributed to the advancement of emergency management in NS and throughout Canada. While collaborating with municipalities, private, public and non-profit sectors, she resourcefully collected data through community-based workshops, presented the HARS pilot to Kings County which supported the drafting of HARS protocol for municipalities and NS’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, and developed the HARS Municipal Planning Guide and Template. Ms. Nickelo’s adaptability was especially prominent during the COVID-19 pandemic, where she continued to advance the progression of HARS, as she efficiently turned to virtual communication tools. Ms. Nickelo’s accomplishments served to better prepare municipalities and to support the response of an extreme heat event, to protect vulnerable communities.
Outstanding Contribution to Emergency Management
With over 40 years of service in the field of Emergency Management, Mr. Unrau has had a long distinguished career across tactical, operational and strategic levels. Starting as an Emergency Medical Technician with the local ambulance company, Mr. Unrau led a private rescue team to Armenia, following the 1988 earthquake that left 500,000 residents homeless and caused 25,000 deaths. He later joined the City of Saskatoon’s Fire Department and soon transitioned into the role of Director of Emergency Planning. In that capacity, Ray was instrumental in implementing a regional mass notification system as well as designing, operationalizing, and then integrating the city's emergency operation center to function as a user friendly and scalable system. In his current role as Chief of Emergency Management within the Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency, Mr. Unrau continues to be a pillar in the EM landscape of the province by enhancing public safety programming around fire services, designing and facilitating table top exercises across sectors and working toward greater integration of community preparedness.
Michael Wade Johnson
Cumberland County’s emergency management program has greatly improved, thanks to the leadership, expertise and contribution of Mr. Johnson. Being the Regional Emergency Management Coordinator for 8 years, Mr. Johnson prioritized strengthening the emergency response within his community, and by extension the province, by training and hosting exercises to various emergency responders, so they can have the ability to perform well under these circumstances. His devotion to amateur radio in emergency management has encouraged “Exercise Handshake” participants to practice their communications skills with multiple devices throughout the province. Mr. Johnson has accomplished to educate and to mentor other emergency management professionals in his career, in order to ensure the safety of all Cumberland County’s residents during emergencies.
David K. Schafer
Over the past 30 years, Mr. Schafer has made a remarkable contribution to the development of emergency management in Manitoba. He’s taken on many roles including being a front line emergency responder, Manitoba’s Fire Commissioner and Director of the Manitoba Wildfire Service. After supporting the development of the Canadian Incident Command System, Mr. Schafer took great importance in teaching hundreds of future front line responders the foundation of emergency management, and hundreds of Emergency Services College students, while serving as Fire Commissioner. Having acquired experience in structural and wildland fires, he supported the development of one of the largest Type 1 Structural Protection Units in Canada to help protect Manitobans.
Mr. Schafer demonstrated initiative and leadership throughout his career, and his contribution will continue to benefit the Service and their response to emergencies.
Hydrologic Forecast Centre
(Dr. Fisaha Solomon Unduche (Executive Director, Hydrologic Forecasting & Water Management), Dr. Habtamu G. Tolossa (Senior Forecaster/Hydrologic Engineer), Peter A. Johnston (Hydrologic Services Engineer), Erika April Collet (Senior Hydrologic Operations Engineer), Degefa Ayane Senbeta (Senior Forecaster/Hydrologic Engineer), Will N. Kellas (Senior Hydrologic Engineer), Jason P.J. Senyk (Senior Manager))
The Hydrologic Forecast Centre’s role in flood preparation and risk management has proven to be beneficial to government officials, collaborating departments and the public. With input provided by federal agencies, field experts in Manitoba and flood forecasters in nearby jurisdictions, the HFC proactively develop daily flood forecast reports before and throughout the spring season. They played a pivotal role during the challenging 2022 flood season, by consistently communicating the risk of overland flooding. With their diligent data analysis, this allowed timely precautions to take place, which helped save lives and significantly reduced property damage.
After serving over 31 years in the Canadian Armed Forces, retiring as a Lieutenant-Commander, Mr. Russell began his career in the Government of the NWT. For the next 13 years, Mr. Russell has accomplished many achievements in his emergency management career, including updating the NWT Emergency Management System, re-writing the NWT Emergency Plan, acting as the Head of the EM Organization, and Chair of the Territorial Planning Committee. He also played a keen role in the coordination of territorial emergency preparedness and response, and the implementation of EM plans and programs. He demonstrated great leadership during the 2014 wildfires, the initial territorial response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the 2021 spring floods. Mr. Russell continues to be an active support during emergencies as a volunteer, following his retirement.
New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization, Recovery Services Team
(Lisa D. Munn, G. Bruce Parks, Jacqueline A. Rioux, Kathleen Cavanaugh, Denise Resmi, Stephanie J. Lebel, Peter C. Rammage, Matt MacGregor, Korey E. Gallant, Julie Martin)
NB has experienced 5 natural disasters within the last 2 years, including heavy rainfalls, floods and a hurricane, and the Recovery Services team have been at their forefronts. They coordinated 5 Disaster Financial Assistance programs which included 2300 claims with an estimated cost of $172 million in damages to homeowners, small businesses, municipalities and government departments.
Those affected by the disasters were assisted by the Recovery Services team with their claim submissions, next steps in reparations, and preparation for potential severe weather reoccurrences. The high volume of claims led to an evaluation of the DFA programs, in order to find possible improvements regarding the management, reporting and communication. They also updated the Disaster Assistance Policy, which was previously amended in 1993. Their tireless efforts in helping NB communities during difficult times are well recognized and commended.
For 33 years, Ms. O’Keefe had an excelling career in the First Nation Community of Miawpukek Government in the capacity of a community nurse, then as the Director of Conne River Health & Social Services, and finally the General Manager. Within the latter-mentioned position, her leadership advanced the Disaster Emergency Management program, and built a team for the Emergency Operations Centre, who manage occurring natural or human-induced disasters. One of her many notable accomplishments was her strong contribution during the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to a 95% vaccination rate within the community. She has played an exemplary role within her community by improving emergency preparedness, response, and recovery. Ms. O’Keefe was also involved in training employees in EM, hosted tabletop exercises, as well as provided education sessions to community members on preparing a home emergency plan. She continuously built relationships with FPT partners, and secured funding to improve her community’s readiness, in case of arising emergencies.
Yukon Flood Forecasting Team
(Holly Goulding, Anthony F. Bier)
Holly Goulding, Senior Hydrologist, and Anthony Bier, Intermediate Hydrologist in the Yukon’s Government spearheaded the forecasting for a historic flooding event in 2021. Both having limited experience in this domain only amplified their tenacity to support responders and citizens by producing snow bulletin and water supply forecasts, 10 ice break-up forecasts, 55 flood advisories and participating in 50 media briefings. Their ongoing and timely communication with collaborating partners ensured that the Emergency Measures Organization could respond adequately, by evacuating and flood-proofing areas as needed. Their resourcefulness was also highlighted when lack of accessible data and modeling tools led their critical thinking to overcome this challenge. Ms. Goulding and Mr. Bier were recipients of the Department of Environment’s Deputy Minister Award in 2021 to recognize their excellent work.
Ms. Geisler has been involved in emergency response in her community since she was 17 when she joined the Yukon Fire Service as a volunteer fire fighter. She has since occupied many other roles in emergency management and response and graduated first in her class with a degree in Applied Disaster and Emergency Studies. Ms. Geisler now has over a decade of service with Yukon’s volunteer fire service including several years as an Officer. She is also a member of Yukon’s Special Heavy Operations Team, was a key member of Yukon’s COVID-19 vaccination efforts, and has spent considerable time in leadership roles in Yukon’s Emergency Coordination Centre including at the Director level. Additionally, Ms. Geisler has responded to many domestic and overseas emergencies, including the 2019 Tropical Storm in the Philippines. Ms. Geisler works hard to encourage other women to join the fire service. She was part of the team that founded the Ember Fire Academy for women in 2014 and has remained part of its core leadership ever since. With her mentorship and training, women’s presence in her volunteer fire hall has increased to 50% of its members. Ms. Geisler has become a role model for many women in the Yukon emergency field.
Mary H. Charters
Ms. Charters has served 5 years as a Vancouver Police Officer and 5 years as a RCMP Special Constable before joining Health EM in 2019. Currently occupying the Director of Health EM in BC role, she has directly worked on a number of emergency responses throughout the province. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she helped develop and was the Lead Director and Coordinator of the Rural and Remote First Nation Communities Framework. This aided in providing essential health care support to vulnerable Indigenous communities in BC. Also, Ms. Charters is the leading Director of the new provincial “Code Silver” working group which provides essential life-saving response options for health care workers in Active Shooter/Attacker situations. She has provided exceptional leadership and expertise to collaborating partners, and has assembled a well-knowledge team that support in the preparation and recovery during emergency events.
Ian Mark Pollard
Mr. Pollard is currently the Divisional Director of Emergency Disaster Services with the Salvation Army, the Co-Chair of the Integrated Disaster Council of BC and volunteers as an Incident Command team member. He and his team have prioritized aiding communities who have been victims of disasters. With Mr. Pollard’s coordination in 2021, the Salvation Army and volunteers provided thousands of meals, snacks and drinks to those affected by the wildfires and the atmospheric river. Particularly, support was deployed to the remote Indigenous communities who were devastated by the Lytton wildfires. With his strong partnerships and dedication, he responds to urgencies in a timely manner, and maintains an open communication line. Mr. Pollard’s contribution and efforts to EM has exceptionally supported evacuees, first responders, and EM workers during disasters.
Emergency Support Services Team, City of Penticton
(Vicky Horton, Pat Handley, John Roger Handley, Deb Mac Donald, Jean Marie McLeod)
The Penticton Emergency Support Services (ESS) team provided exemplary service to the citizens of B.C. during the challenging 2021 wildfire season and the flooding events that followed. Volunteers provided supports to evacuees from 20 communities within B.C., including the First Nations communities who were affected by the Lytton wildfires. Working with local governments, First Nations, provincial ministries, local businesses and charities, the team collaborated and worked together to provide aid to residents who were affected, some for many months by these disasters. Over 4,000 hours were spent in various venues within the City of Penticton, providing for evacuees, at times in person, and through a very successful virtual process that enabled supports to be provided through text messaging and emails. All commitments were successfully accomplished in 2021, due to the team’s dedication, professionalism and selflessness.
Michelle S. Gervais
Ms. Gervais is an experienced emergency management and public safety professional who has extensive experience working alongside First Nations, Municipal, Provincial and Federal partners prior to, during and following emergencies. Currently working as an Emergency Management Special Advisor and Evacuation Specialist, she has previously served as a Deputy Fire Chief, EM Special Advisor to the Grand Chief of Nishnawbe Aski Nation, a firefighter and a flight paramedic with Ornge. Ms. Gervais also shares her acquired knowledge and experience as a Lead Emergency Services Professor at Northern College, as a provincial instructor, and as a mentor.
Mrs. Gervais excellent collaboration and inclusive partnership approach allow her to foster positive working relationships. By extension, she developed the Stronger Together: Evacuation Partnerships program which aims to build relationships between First Nations and municipal partners. The program is designed to provide better services to those communities being evacuated, ensuring that their voices are heard by government entities, and to address ongoing issues that they face in terms of evacuations.
She also pioneered Operation Remote Immunity to distribute COVID-19 vaccines to remote First Nations in Northern Ontario. This very model was replicated across Canada, aiding in operational plans to reach other remote locations. Ms. Gervais tactical perspective, strong leadership and tireless commitment to prioritizes the safety of all Ontarians is apparent in her long list of achievements.
Mr. Faccin’s 35-year career as a Paramedic and Emergency Manager in EM in Ontario displayed immense leadership and expertise both as an emergency responder and as a Community EM Coordinator for the Regional Municipality of York. His direction during various emergencies such as SARS, 2013, 2015 and 2018 ice storms, H1N1, the Vaughan tornado, and COVID-19, and his advancement of the York Region’s Emergency Management Program led to his 2005 Governor General’s Award. As Mr. Faccin joined the York Region EM team, he was instrumental in building an EM program, which included the Incident Management System in Ontario, the York Region Business Continuity Program, and a cost-sharing model to support 6 municipalities to obtain EM professionals. His passion and commitment in EM is also displayed through his training to multiple stakeholders, in order to ensure public safety and preparedness. Mr. Faccin’s currently involved with the St. John’s Ambulance in the board of directors to support paramedic and emergency operations. Morris is the recipient of numerous awards including the Governor Generals Award in 2005 for Exemplary Services in recognition of his distinguished work as a paramedic. Morris continues to serve the residents of York Region contributing to Strong, Caring, Safe Communities.
Mr. Wesley has had an impressive career, which dates back to 1995 when he began serving in the Canadian Armed Forces. His expertise lies with EM First Nations communities to support their preparation, response and recovery from emergencies, thanks to his language skills in Cree, Swampy Cree, and English, culture knowledge and resourcefulness in all governmental levels. His passion to strengthen First Nations’ disaster planning was evident through his efforts to develop awareness campaigns across Canada to encourage evacuation planning, capacity building, and well-timed recovery. Mr. Wesley has shown great leadership in the various roles that he’s taken on including Fire Chief of Natuashish First Nations, Fire Instructor and Emergency Planning Facilitator, and currently, EM Services Manager for the Mushkegowuk Tribal Council. Mr. Wesley is well-respected amongst his peers and all who interact with him.
Percy S. B. Janke
Mr. Janke’s 26 years of service with the City of St. Albert has ensured the safety of the community, due to his dedicated efforts in the emergency management field. Within his accomplished career, Mr. Janke occupied the roles of Paramedic, Fire Fighter, Assistant Chief Medical Liaison and Deputy Fire chief in the Fire Services, then becoming the Director of EM in the Emergency Operation Centre (EOC). His admirable leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic allowed for a timely response from the EOC, demonstrating the adaptability of the emergency professionals, and efficiently collaborated with Alberta Health and Health Services, and the Government of Alberta. In addition to managing the ongoing pandemic, Mr. Janke supported the response of a significant fire in the St. Albert Senior’s Complex, where over 100 seniors were evacuated, and relocated to local and regional accommodations. Respected by all who have worked with him, Mr. Janke prioritizes the well-being of his team with his encouragement, and by creating a supportive team environment. The strengthening and improvement of EM are due to his critical thinking, his ability to remain calm during urgencies, and his accumulated knowledge and experience.
Mr. Bergeron has served for 16 years in the fire service and the emergency management sector. Currently, he is the Deputy Fire Chief for the Protective Services Department of Northern Sunrise County and is an integral contributor to local and regional incidents’ response. Additionally, he was appointed as the Alternate Team Commander for the Alberta All-Hazard Incident Management Team (northwest region), and collaborates with regional and provincial agencies to maintain a high standard for municipal emergency management response. Mr. Bergeron has greatly contributed to emergency management by acting in various roles, including the County’s Incident Commander for incidents ranging up to Type 3 Incidents, and has been deployed to other municipalities to support during emergencies. In 2018, he became an instructor under the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) under the Government of Alberta to provide Incident Command System Canada courses to municipal, provincial, and federal partners in both Official Languages. Undertaking many responsibilities, and leading on important initiatives for the safety of Albertans, Mr. Bergeron repeatedly demonstrated his leadership and passion for emergency management.
Cheryl L. Bourassa
Ms. Bourassa has achieved many successes throughout her 53 years in healthcare, by having a direct impact on emergency preparedness and management at the provincial and national levels. Beginning her career as a nurse, and now the Executive Director of Emergency and Disaster Management for Alberta Health Services (AHS), she has been the architect of the program and more specifically of the organizations Incident Management System. She has been instrumental in the response to many emergencies since 2009, such as wildfires, floods and pandemics. Notably, Ms. Bourassa has built a team of over 50 emergency management and business continuity professionals, in AHS. With her leadership, they have coordinated many response and recovery efforts, developed standardized province-wide emergency response plans, assembled an all hazards stockpile, developed on line learning modules, created a single point of emergency contact into AHS for external agencies, enabled the implementation of an enterprise wide business continuity program, and reinforced many other areas of operations. Ms. Bourassa’s tireless efforts and dedication has positioned Alberta to be resilient during emergencies, and her work will be continuously beneficial, and appreciated by her peers and Albertans.
Christopher J. Collins
Mr. Collins has served 30 years in various roles, including as a Combat Medic in the Canadian Armed Forces, a Halton Regional Police Officer, and a Nuclear Security Operations Manager at the Ontario Power Generation. He was extensively active in emergency response, but later on became involved in incident management, especially in large-scale public events. With his accumulated experience and subject matter knowledge, he shifted towards educating others as the Standards and Training Manager at York University, and currently an EM Institute Professor at Centennial College. He was actively involved in creating courses to obtain EM certifications, and in the development of tabletop exercises and drills, in order to better prepare the school’s staff and future emergency professionals. His attention to detail and critical thinking allows him to present holistic exercises, that cover every step of emergencies, such as prevention, preparedness, response and recovery. Mr. Collins is a recognized leader in this field, with many contributions, and he continues to impact it by training future first responders.
Robert E. Justice
Mr. Justice served 32 years with the Royal Canadian Navy. Joining in 1981 and following his training, he held many roles, and participated in numerous NATO, UN and allied exercises, overseas deployment and domestic operations such as the 2020 Vancouver Olympics and G8/G20 Summits. To further enrich his emergency management experience, he joined the Canadian Coast Guard as the Incident Management Office’s Manager, and led the development of the Incident Command System (ICS), which was implemented nationally in 2018. His invaluable contribution to the EM field has been recognized by many across Canada, and he continues to lead and mentor Incident Management teams. Mr. Justice is regularly invited to EM Federal committees, to represent the Canadian Coast Guard. To highlight another accomplishment, the Marine Event Response Protocol and the Canadian Coast Guard’s Plan for Incident Management were set in motion thanks to his implication and passion to advance EM.
Supply Chain Recovery Working Group
(Toke Adams, Robert Dick, Trevor J. Heryet, Chris Hoff, Thomas Kwan, Cecilia Lei, Elaina Liang , Jasmine Luk, John K. Wilson, Kathryn Krishna, Sohee Ahn, Fazil Mihlar, Viva L. Wolf, Kathryn Forge, Pietro (Peter) L. Xotta, David J. Schick, William Duane Mooney, Dave Earle, Stephanie E Jones, Reg Bawa)
The Supply Chain Recovery Working Group (SCRWG) was established by Transport Canada and the BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure due to high flooding levels in 2021. Within a day of atmospheric rivers touching Southern BC, 4 million people lost power, flooding and mud slides blocked roads and essential highways, international supply chains through Canada’s largest port and 4,000 trucks were stagnant, and heavily impacted food and fuel accessibility. In a proactive and rapid response to this crisis, the federal and provincial government, industry partners, and transport providers were assembled to form the SCRWG, and began responding to critical issues, while collaboratively communicating with essential establishments to re-enable their operations. Partnerships were formed amongst the Group, and the diversity of expertise led to faster reestablishment of certain services and goods. The SCRWG accomplished a common purpose during a disaster, and they were exemplary leaders and benefactors in the emergency recovery.
Search and Rescue Employees
Ms. Riches has been involved with the British Columbia Search and Rescue Association for over 18 years, providing exemplary leadership in search and rescue prevention and education. Ms. Riches has been the driving force behind the success of the AdventureSmart program in British Columbia. She has grown the program its early beginnings, to a recognized educational program across the province of British Columbia with over 500 volunteers, most of which she has trained personally. In her current role as the Executive Director of BC AdventureSmart, Ms. Riches is recognized as a leader in search and rescue prevention and education not only in Canada but across North America. She has been instrumental in program development, the AdventureSmart Trip Plan App, the newly designed AdventureSmart.ca and most recently, an online e-learning program. Her ability to build and maintain strong partnerships, as well as her willingness to adapt the curriculum and delivery in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, have ensured the continued success of this important program that helps Canadians stay safe when outdoors.
James V. King
Mr. King is considered one of the founding figures of the International COSPAS-SARSAT Programme (Programme), a critical tool for search and rescue authorities around the world since 1988. As of 2021, this tool was credited with providing distress alert and location data to SAR authorities resulting in the rescue of 57 413 people. With a master’s degree in engineering specializing in satellite communications, Mr. King began his career at the Department of National Defense where he was involved in testing components and developing models of Canadian satellites and establishing the Canadian Test and Evaluation Centre, which is still operational today. In 1987, Mr. King moved to England where he co-established the COSPAS-SARSAT Secretariat and later moved back to Canada where he continued his work on COSPAS-SARSAT initiatives until 2012. His dedication combined with critical roles he has played over 40 years have contributed in a major way to the technological innovation that supports Search and Rescue in Canada.
Mr. Renner has contributed over 40 years to Search and Rescue through his lifelong dedication to the development of the lifesaving COSPAS-SARSAT technology. Considered one of the founding figures of the International Programme, Mr. Renner played a pivotal role in the development of the signal processing protocols used in the original Low Earth Search and Rescue satellites. His algorithm allowed the detection and location of weak emergency beacon signals to determine locations even if the beacon was inoperable after only two transmissions due to a fire or from being pulled under water. He further contributed to the development of a system enhancement, known as Medium Orbit Search and Rescue, that have reduced to detection time for distress beacons from hours to minute. This technology is now the norm today. Mr. Renner’s efforts have contributed to over 50,000 rescues to date. His achievements to improve an already impressive system has put Canada on the map as a global leader in SARSAT technology.
Denis A. Hill
With an educational and work background in mathematics and computer science, Mr. Hill was a key member in the groundbreaking development of the software used to track the Cospas-Sarsat satellites and to process the data relayed by those satellites into information that could be used for action in search and rescue operations. Mr. Hill has been an active participant in the Cospas-Sarsat Programme for over 40 years, and has played critical roles in the expansion of the system and in the current operational state of the system. A highly sought-after expert of the Programme, Mr. Hill has served on the national delegations of Canada, France, Hong Kong, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America. He continues to be one of the premier experts on the Programme’s operational documents. As recently as 2021, he participated in the development of the plan for the global test of the newest capabilities of the Cospas-Sarsat system. Mr. Hill’s exceptional service to the search and rescue community in a very specialized field have been exemplary, and he can share in the credit for having saved more than 50,000 lives globally.
Mr. Ruelens-Lepoutre has worked in search and rescue (SAR) field since his 1st student position, in 2005, where he joined the Canadian Coast Guard as a Seaman in the Inshore Rescue Boat (IRB) Program. He quickly demonstrated his potential, and was named Coxswain in his 3rd year in the program. As he continued to harness his leadership skills amongst his peers, he took on the role of training a 16 day course annually with a coordinator, which expanded his onboarding, and evaluation capacities. As of 2018, he manages over 40 students annually, as the IRB program coordinator, and puts in much effort to promote, and to logistically organize the program, as well as scouting aspiring sailors. As an experience conductor and with over 500 SAR missions under his belt, his level of confidence and knowledge of the program allows him to efficiently handle arising issues, and always remains available to provide support to SAR employees. Mr. Ruelens-Lepoutre holds great importance to build external and internal partnerships, establish health and safety, obtain equipment, and ensures that the emergency response level is consistently maintained. As Mr. Ruelens-Lepoutre has dedicated 15 years to the SAR community, his ongoing efforts continue to strengthen the operational missions, and future emergency professionals.
Mr. Drake’s accomplishments in New Brunswick’s Search and Rescue radius, stretching over 5000 square miles of coastline and in the tidal waters, has ensured the province’s readiness for future emergencies. He’s been vital in terms of training ground searchers, by ensuring that they are comfortable with maneuvering various types of marine vessels, and completing full scale multi-agencies exercises. The latter is especially important due to sharing an international border with the United States, which Mr. Drake has prioritized building a working relationship with the US Coast Guard. He has been recognized to commit an extraordinary amount of time to ensure the operational preparation of all agencies, particularly Ground Search and Rescue (SAR). Mr. Drake’s forward strategic thinking has been instrumental in the work he does, and has been an asset during scenario exercises. Many of his exercises included real world scenarios, and this method has been proven very useful for partners who have had to respond to similar emergencies. Mr. Drake’s values and integrity, his dedication, and his ability to exceptionally train future SAR responders has served the Atlantic region of Canada tremendously.
Search and Rescue Volunteers
Mr. Veale has been a dedicated volunteer with Prince Edward Island Ground Search and Rescue (PEI GSAR) since 2017. He served with the Canadian Armed Forces on several deployments across Canada, Germany and a UN Peacekeeping mission in Egypt. Mr. Veale also served as a Peace Officer with the University of Prince Edward Island Security and Police Services Division. He volunteers with several community based organizations. Mr. Veale is a valued member of the PEI GSAR team, wearing many different hats, including Project Lifesaver technician, communications unit leader, planning section chief, operations section chief, team leader and AdventureSmart facilitator. Mr. Veale has also played a very active role in fundraising for the team and sits on membership, training and fundraising committees. His colleagues describe Mr. Veale as being the first person to sign up for community events, the first one to arrive to set up and often the last to leave. Mr. Veale truly exemplifies what it means to give back to his community to make it a better and safer place.
An accomplished mountaineer with extensive backcountry experience, Mr. Gardave has been a dedicated volunteered with Nelson Search and Rescue for over 25 years. Upon joining in 1996, Mr. Gardave quickly became the Ground Search Team Leader. Over his tenure, he was instrumental in developing and integrating many technical rescue teams in the West Kootenay region, including Mountain, Avalanche, and the Kootenay Heli Rescue society Class D Team. He was integral in educating organizations about the value of Class D and mentoring members in the region. Over the years, Mr. Gardave has lead over 150 rescue and recovery operations and has played a critical role in saving lives while keeping other rescuers safe. Thanks to his efforts with Class D, it is increasingly recognized as the safest, most efficient tool to access, stabilize and transport subjects to safety, while reducing risk to rescuers. His expertise will continue to save lives through the people he mentors and his legacy of technical rescue.
David P. Lussier
Mr. Lussier has been a volunteer and leader within the Search and Rescue Manitoba Volunteer Association (SARMAN VA) and the Search and Rescue Volunteer Association of Canada (SARVAC) for the past 28 years. Mr. Lussier currently serves as President of SARMAN VA, and represents the organization on the Board of Directors for SARVAC, a role he has held since 2008. Over the years, Mr. Lussier has participated in a number of national and international projects to advance SAR in Canada, and has been an avid promoter on the use of the thousands of SAR volunteers across Canada in support of other emergency management disciplines under the Humanitarian Workforce Project. He has also been an active participant in developing national training standards and curriculums for ground SAR volunteers across Canada. Mr. Lussier has proven himself to be a dedicated volunteer and effective leader, working collaboratively with other authorities to assist in the management of many high profile search operations in Manitoba. Mr. Lussier’s long term commitment to SAR has been and will continue to be an asset for the people of Manitoba when it comes to emergency response.
Fernie Search and Rescue volunteers
(Simon Piney, Ryan Anderson)
As Fernie is known to be an outdoor activity destination, the Search and Rescue (SAR) volunteers help keep the residents and tourists safe throughout the year. On behalf of the Emergency Management BC, Fernie SAR is a wilderness emergency response group which has been responding to hundreds of incidents for 30 years. Approximately 28 volunteers serve to protect the small town that welcomes many visitors, and they are constantly being challenges with harnessing a technical rescue team that is comparable to a larger urban centre. They accomplish this by spending over 5000 hours annually developing their skills and maintaining multiple life-saving certificates. They also value collaboration with the local government, fire rescue, the RCMP and neighboring SAR groups, in order to adapt to the increasing tourism, climate change, and new technologies. Their dedication and professionalism has kept the community and the thousands of tourists safer.
Ms. Coultes has been a dedicated member of the Volunteer Search and Rescue (SAR) community for over 15 years. Currently the President of the Search and Rescue Volunteer Association of Canada (SARVAC) and the Ontario Search and Rescue Volunteer Association (OSARVA), her commitment to ensuring public safety has been quantified with approximately 7800 hours of volunteering, earning her an honourary lifetime membership within her home team, London Search and Rescue. She’s also a Train the Trainer for the SARVAC AdventureSmart program, a Train the Trainer for OSARVA's OPP Search Courses, an ICS instructor, an OPP-certified Search Manager, and mentors members and leaders in all SAR teams. Ms. Coultes has been instrumental in administering NIF grants to all OSARVA teams, such as launching D4H data management software which allows for tracking Ontario-wide volunteer statistics, and is currently administering a NIF grant with focus on strengthening interoperability amongst teams. With her pivotal efforts she's helped to create a provincial team leader program, to standardize team training and the available resources across the province, and is paving the way for future volunteers to efficiently perform their heroic roles. Ms. Coultes has also been working tirelessly to advance the Humanitarian Workforce Program developed by Public Safety Canada, and having SARVAC members ready at the national level to respond to emergencies across our country.
Mary Lynn McCourt
Ms. McCourt has been a valued member of Prince Edward Island’s Ground Search and Rescue (PEI GSAR) since 2017, and has been trained in a wide range of life-saving resources and tools. She was instrumental in developing a proposal to receive funding from Public Safety Canada’s SAR New Initiatives Fund, and took charge of the technical assessment, development, and implementation of a new Geographic Information System (GIS) technology within PEI GSAR. With her leadership, expertise, and mentorship, PEI SAR improved their preparedness and response for searches through the use of new technology and enhanced training for SAR teams. She is also a member of the AdventureSmart committee, which offers educational programs to children about outdoor safety. Ms. McCourt has become an integral part of the incident management team, often holding the role of Situation Unit Leader, and always strives to achieve the highest standards possible to continue the growth and development of the PEI GSAR team.
Mr. Brewer is the driving force that led to significant improvements to Search and Rescue (SAR) in British Columbia. He was the Provincial lead for large-scaled SAR New Initiatives Fund projects such as, the Inter-Operability Radio Project, and the Risk Assessment and Decision Support Making Tool Project and the British Columbia Ground and Inland Water Search and Rescue Training and Operational Support Model . He has been a leader in accessing grant funding programs that have allowed Kent Harrison SAR to acquire the necessary training and equipment to respond to a variety of Ground SAR responses. Having attained extensive knowledge with funding applications, Mr. Brewer worked with the B.C. Lottery’s Branch to develop information packages to assist SAR groups with their funding request submissions, and provided support as a resource contact for them. Most of Kent Harrison SAR capital assets have been funded by B.C. Gaming due to Mr. Brewer’s ability to compose and obtain project funding. He was also a driving force for Kent Harrison SAR getting a new purpose-built building, and he designed their latest Command vehicle. His exemplary and dedicated work is recognized by many with his top volunteer hours, and by greatly improving SAR resource acquisition to provide community safety.
Sauvetage Bénévole Outaouais - Ottawa Volunteer Search and Rescue
(Gerry Godsoe, David Snelson, Steven L. Jarvis, Patrick G. Bisson, Benjamin Sparkes, Ronald J. MacGillivray, Luc Cousineau, Patrick Foré, Andrew Laliberte, Dr. Eric Karmouch)
Sauvetage Bénévole Outaouais - Ottawa Volunteer Search and Rescue (SBO-OVSAR) was established in 1996 and provides valuable resources to provincial and municipal tasking agencies for SAR and disaster response in Eastern Ontario and Western Québec. They are a group of “professional volunteers” including ground searchers, team leaders and incident managers. SBO-OVSAR has developed specialty teams to meet emerging needs and take advantage of technological advancements, such as drones which allow rapid searching of high-probability and dangerous areas. SBO-OVSAR’s Drone Team was formed in 2019 and ambitiously raised funds to purchase two drones equipped with thermal cameras. As the Team has grown, it has also benefitted from using drones owned by its members and their employers. Transport Canada (TC) recently approved a Special Flight Operations Certificate which allows SBO-OVSAR’s drones to operate Beyond Visual Line of Sight – a significant milestone for volunteer SAR in Canada. Through frequent training and deployment at searches and disaster situations, the SBO-OVSAR Drone Team is contributing to the development of SAR drone expertise and standard operating procedures which will be shared with other volunteer SAR groups.
Mr. Savage joined the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary, Quebec region, in 2008, and tirelessly worked to develop marine search and rescue capacities for Zone-2: Bas-Saint-Laurent-Gaspésie. He served in many roles such as a rescuer, coxswain, instructor, commander of the Rimouski Unit, Director of Communications, Board Member, and Director of Zone-2. Additionally, he’s participated in over 40 marine rescue missions, served as a volunteer firefighter, and committed a grand number of hours to organize the Marine search and rescue (SAR) capacities. Utilizing his volunteer networking skills, he established closer ties with many organizations to further improve the SAR preparedness and response. Mr. Savage continues to find ways to improve and to strengthen the Marine SAR in terms of resources, strategies and, collaboration with all levels of public safety, and has been a great leader and educator to his peers.
Growing up in an environment surrounded by search and rescue (SAR) professionals, Mr. Wright got involved with the Coast Guard’s Marine SAR at an early age. As he traveled across the country, he joined the regional SAR team to provide support in a number of positions, and finally ended up residing in Saskatchewan. From there, Mr. Wright was instrumental in forming, and leading the Search and Rescue Saskatchewan Association of Volunteers (SARSAV) and the Saskatoon SAR. His contributory spirit and strategic vision brought forth many achievements, such as advocating for volunteer SAR members’ insurance, assisting with the development of the Humanitarian Workforce Program, collaborating with partners, and amplifying the importance of SAR in the emergency management field. He currently occupies the role of President and Director of SARVAC, and has been heavily involved in many emergencies and missions across the province. Moreover, Mr. Wright dedicates a great portion of his time in training and educating others within this field, due to this extensive experience and knowledge. Mr. Wright’s tangible contribution are greatly recognized in the growth of SAR at the national, provincial and municipal levels.
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